The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE proposed constitutional amendment by the National Government is in the best interest of political stability, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
In a statement, O’Neill said that had been done within existing laws that governed the country and “is within the responsibilities of Parliament as a legislative arm of Government”.
He said the Opposition had been circulating misleading information to people for their emotional and political well-being.
The Opposition has described the amendment as selfish and a bid to remain in power and to “remove the purpose of the Constitution that keeps the Parliament checks and balances for transparency, democracy and accountability of the Government”.
“These amendments are done in the best interest of the nation and for its continued political stability, something that has been lacking since independence,” O’Neill said.
“They do not eliminate the original intentions of the Constitution in any way, shape or form.
“The National Government proposed these changes because of continued damage that political instability causes to the development of the country and our people’s well being.
“Our people see the real lack of tangible development in terms of the quality of life.
“Our investors see lack of consistent government policies, which does not safeguard their investment.
“This is brought about by instability in government and public service machinery.”
O’Neill said the other reason for proposing the amendments was that the National Government “is the Government chosen directly by the people through the democratic ballots and therefore reflects the will of the majority”.
“Therefore, any change that may be proposed during the term of Parliament must be done in the interest of the people and the country.
“It is for that reason the change of a government duly elected by the people must be debated properly and supported by one-third of members of Parliament.
“This will avoid manipulation by individuals wishing to hijack the mandate of the people just because they have more money or scream and yell the loudest.
“This provision of the Constitution to reduce the number of sitting days from 63 to 40 days has not been complied by many parliament sittings in the past because of continuous lack of quorum.”